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Don Praveen Amarasinghe

Hello !

Welcome to my e-Portfolio! This is my page detailing all the work I am currently doing as part of my MOAC PhD.

About me

After studying at The Latymer School in Edmonton, I came to Warwick in October 2006 to study for a four year undergraduate Master of Mathematics degree. During this time, I found myself wanting to explore some of the other sciences by taking options in physics and organic chemistry. Once I had obtained my undergraduate degree, I then went on to study at MASDOC (Mathematics and Statistics Doctoral Training Centre) in October 2010, with the intention of studying for an MSc and a PhD (the remnants of my old MASDOC website can be found here). However, whilst I had a good time during my MSc year there, my dissertation did not result in continuing to a PhD. After a gap year working as a supervisor in the Mathematics Institute at Warwick (as well as working at the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies over the summer), I enrolled at MOAC with a desire to contribute to the sciences and to bridge the gaps between my mathematical background and my interests in biochemistry.

PhD Work

A substantial portion of biological functions are carried out by membrane proteins and a large number of currently used drugs target them. In order to understand the function of these proteins, it is usually necessary to determine their structure. However, while structure determination methods for soluble proteins is a well-established field, the most commonly used methods such as X-ray crystallography and solution NMR spectroscopy have somewhat limited scope when applied to membrane proteins. There is therefore a significant need for development of new methods allowing for probing of membrane protein structure and interactions within their natural environment.

My PhD looks at using a technique called linear dichroism (LD) to analyse the structure of proteins embedded in the membranes of lipid vesicles. are a model system commonly used to study dynamic behaviour of a biological cell and the cell membrane. LD measures differences in absorption of perpendicular and parallel linearly polarised light by a sample aligned in a shear flow. While the effects of this allignment approach are known for linear molecules, such as DNA, the effects on lipid vesicles are not. My first step in this project is to study the behaviour of vesicles in a shear flow setup, before going on to develop a procedure whereby proteins embedded in vesicle membranes can be aligned.

Previous (MSc) Work


  • Master of Mathematics (MMath - First Class Honours), Warwick, 2006 - 2010
  • Master of Science (MSc) in Mathematics and Statistics, Warwick (part of MASDOC), 2010 - 2011
  • Master of Science (MSc) in Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry, Warwick (part of MOAC), 2012 - 2013

Other (musical) interests

On top of the MOAC course, I sing as a tenor in the University's Chamber Choir and Chorus. Previous concerts include Mozart's Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Bach's St. John Passion and Verdi's Macbeth. More details about these ensembles can be found on the Music Centre website.


Senate House
The University of Warwick
D dot P dot Amarasinghe at warwick dot ac dot uk